Friday, July 31, 2015

When We Face Prolonged Seasons of ‘Issues’

               I have some friends who are going through lengthy ordeals involving family members. These friends are concerned for those close to them. One emailed me an update; she closed it by saying she was living Luke 18.
               In my devotional reading, I came across the following excerpt. I marvel at what this write says. I am caught by God’s timing. Receiving my one friend’s email, hearing my other friend’s anxiety, and finding this passage all came this week. 

               “According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it. The images he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though it was rather comic to have to explain it all. He says God is like a friend you go to borrow bread at midnight. The friend tells you in effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until he finally gives you what you want so he can go back to bed again (Luke 11:5-8)Or God is like a crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably because there’s nothing much in it for him. But she keeps on hounding him until he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18:1-8). Even a stinker, Jesus says won’t give his own child a black eye  when he asks for peanut butter and jelly, so how all the more will God when his child ask—(Matthew 7:9-11).

                “Be importunate1, Jesus says—no one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God’s door before he will open it, but because you beat a path there’s no way of getting to your door. ‘Ravish my heart,’ John Donne wrote. But God will not usually ravish. He will only court.”

1 adjective, 1.) urgent or persistent in solicitation, sometimes annoyingly so. 2) pertinacious, as solicitations or demands. 3) troublesome; annoying.

From Wistful Thinking by Frederick Buechner.

          Found in disciplines for the inner life by Bob Benson and Michael Benson

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

“My Spirit Seeks”

“At night my soul longs for You, indeed,
my spirit within me seeks You diligently;
for when the earth experiences Your judgments
 the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Isaiah 26:9 (NASB)

               At night, when I can’t sleep, I find myself praying. Sleep eventually comes. I have learned that God wants me to do this. A friend might be in need of prayer. A circumstance in our nation or even our world may merit special attention from God.

               God sometimes has to withhold His blessing from me. When He does this, He teaches me a lesson that I need. During this season of Lent, I chose to go a different way in relinquishing something I like in order to learn more of Him. After Lenten time, I intended to  share what I let go of and what I learned from this experience.

               My summer has been interesting but quiet. I broke a rib due to a fall in our basement. Hubby strained his side as he attempted to remove sand bags (70lbs. each) from the trunk of our car. It has taken him a good three weeks to get to the place of relative comfort.

               I worked the registration table for Vacation Bible School. A friend and I sat at a pre-registration table earlier in the summer. Several of us are making plans for next summer’s VBS.

               We recently went down to see our son. He worked until evening and then met Hubby at our friend’s pond to fish. They came back to where I was going on 10.00o’clock. The next day, the three of us went on a drive across that county. We stopped at a fruit market where our son bought a watermelon. We stopped in at our friend’s mom’s house and visited with her.

               Just before we went away, I ran across a series of scriptures that I spent time thinking on and then writing about. I believe I have had a case of writer’s block.
               I have been able to keep up with my devotional reading and my journaling. So, all is not lost. I’m not complaining but just wanting to fill you in as to why I have been so spasmodic with my posts. I believe I owe you all that.

Monday, July 27, 2015

We Have a Refuge

Warner Sallman Photo

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.”
Nahum 1:7

               What is a refuge? We think of it as a haven, a safe place, a shelter. In our city, I have seen posters in windows of businesses telling the community that the premises are a safe place for those who need to escape violence. Our homes act as a shelter from the problems of the world.

               We consider God to be a protector from hurt and harm. Are we ever out of His presence? Are we ever out of His protection?

               In the Old Testament, Jacob wrestles with an angel of God. When he slept, he dreamed of a stairway leading up to heaven. The next morning, he said, “Surely, the LORD was in this place and I was not aware of it.” (Genesis 28:16) We are never out of His presence, therefore, we are never out of his protection.
                How can we be more mindful of God’s protection? Can we pray on a daily basis? The Apostle Paul tells us to ‘Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Can we witness more freely? Paul also tells us to do all we do as if we do it so the LORD will be glorified. “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”(1Corinthians 10:31)

               We have so much to learn and share about the LORD.

               Dear Father God: We thank you for Who You are. We appreciate your watch-care over us and our loved ones. Instruct us in how to pray more effectively and how to witness for You.  We ask these things out of Your grace for us. We will give You all the praise. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. AMEN. 

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...